Los Angeles-based artist and actor Joseph Lee brushes and smudges thick globs of oil paint to create multi-colored portraits. Vibrant layers of segmented brushstrokes focus on the emotion of human faces rather than their physicality, with facial features partially or entirely obscured from view.
Lee began painting as a way to channel his creativity after a failed acting audition. “After working on a long project, I needed to protect my energy and be selfish with my time,” he told Shape/Shift Report. “I don’t have any formal artistic training and coming from a theater background, human behavior and emotions were the closest references I had to paint.” Describing his process as “a bit of a blur,” Lee says that he shuts off mentally and fully engages with the work. No two days are the same, and that’s the way he prefers it. “I am not conscious of what I am doing much of this time,” he explained. “Obviously, there are times that call to be analytical and business-minded, but the actual process is to be fully engaged with my piece without interruptions. There are times when I’m just throwing paint around mindlessly, and other times where I find myself staring at a blank canvas for hours.”
To stare more deeply at Lee’s canvas paintings, prints, and clothing, head over to his Instagram.